Much more than a double-standard, there is a Clinton standard that no other candidate, past or present, is being held to.
As journalists continue to press Hillary Clinton to release the transcripts from all the paid speeches she made as a private citizen, including those made to Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs, it’s helpful to keep in mind how unusual the request is. Reading the coverage you might think the transcript demand is routine for all candidates. (i.e. Why won’t she just do it already?) But it’s not the norm. In fact, it’s the opposite of normal.
Once again separate rules have been created for Clinton, although the coverage and commentary on the transcript story is usually careful to leave that part out.
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Still, journalists seem focused about uncovering the transcripts for a series of speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs, the idea being that the Wall Street powerhouse would only pay Clinton big bucks because they expected something in return.
But Goldman Sachs regularly brings in a wide array of speakers, including clergy, athletes, researchers,journalists, and entrepreneurs. Is Clinton the only one who received Goldman Sachs speech paychecks and was then expected to deliver favors to the company?
The whole idea that paid corporate speeches are built around the expectation of favors returned doesn’t make much sense. “Paying a former secretary of state for giving a speech is what companies and associations do when they want to feel important, not when they want to influence legislation and regulations,” noted Paul Waldman at the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, The New York Times spoke to someone who attended one of those speeches [emphasis added]:
Mrs. Clinton mainly offered what one attendee called “a tour of the world,” covering her observations on China, Iran, Egypt and Russia. This person said Mrs. Clinton also discussed the dysfunction in Washington, how to repair America’s standing in the world after the government shutdown and also talked a bit about the Affordable Care Act, which had had a difficult rollout.
Politico reported one attendee remembered a Clinton Goldman Sachs speech as “mostly basic stuff, small talk, chit-chat.” (That person thought the optics of the speech might not look so good today.)
And note that in 2014, Clinton addressed the Ameriprise Financial conference. According to a Boston Globeaccount, Clinton urged political compromise and delivered a populist message about income equality:
“We have the feeling growing in our country that the deck is stacked against the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class,” Clinton said, adding that the country is hobbled by “rising inequality, growth that hasn’t really picked up yet, and the feeling that many Americans now have that somehow the system seems rigged against them.”
Clinton’s clearly being held to a new standard. The press thinks that’s fine and even celebrates it.